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How to check for traffic behind me

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I'm a new rider and feel like one of the minority who use a small rearview mirror on my helmet.  How do most of you road riders check for approaching traffic from behind?  Does it become natural to turn your head without the risk of turning your EUC?  I'm too worried that if I look behind me I will veer into the road.  I also feel like some drivers slow way down just to watch me ride, which makes me nervous, too.  Just pass me already!

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Just practice and you'll be fine, I have a helmet mounted mirror too.

You can also stick a small 3'' mirror or similar onto an arm band and use that, but I find it's faster to tilt my head and use the mirror.

Luckily where I live there's plenty of bike routes, and I generally only stay on bike routes or pedestrian paths because I don't trust any cars.  Many bike routes here are designated side streets with less car traffic, so there's still cars there but a lot less than normal, so I still use the mirror.

Edited by scotchtape

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I just practiced turning my head quickly like in Chooch's videos. I also try to go faster than all the cars around me so I don't need to look behind me as much. 

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I don't understand "just practice".  You use a mirror, too.  Are you saying to practice using the mirror, or practice turned to look back, or just general practice to get more confident?

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i just look behind me.. i turn my head and my whole body and i can see everything behind me while controlling the euc totally normal... try it find a wide open space with no cars and just do it a hundred times until you can turn around every time without the unicycle straying.. i know its hard at first my brother almost totally wiped out after just turning his head to look back once lol, you will find a natural way to have your legs when turning, now i look behind me from either direction all the time without even thinking about it, even when turning.. i wanted too to get a mirror when i first started riding on the road years ago but i figured why do i need a mirror when i can just look so i just practiced and now im very glad i dont have to carry a mirror. i understand some people are not super flexible though so it may take more practice than others, i am normally freakishly flexible so it came pretty easy to me the tricky part was just keeping the euc straight and not having it turn with me but you soon learn how to counter that

Edited by Rywokast

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3 hours ago, Flyboy10 said:

I just practiced turning my head quickly like in Chooch's videos.

 

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I would use a wrist or helmet mirror until you get better at turning around. As you ride more you will get better at turning and looking behind you. Practice turning and looking behind you when you get a chance. When turning your head to the left it helps to put your right arm out to the 2 o’clock position. ( I learned that from watching Chooch)  Now I just shift to the right a little when turning and looking back to the left without thinking about it. ( It just takes time and practice)

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3 hours ago, Flyboy10 said:

I just practiced turning my head quickly like in Chooch's videos. I also try to go faster than all the cars around me so I don't need to look behind me as much. 

This. Many highfalutin commenters firmly believe higher speeds are, without exception, more dangerous, and aren't shy to smear their ... opinions in your face.

I drilled holes into my helmet so I could mount a mirror and lights with zipties. This way I can peek in the mirror to determine if it's worth turning my head.

So far I've had a planar mirror, but I'm going to try a convex mirror soon. The planar mirror gives better distance judgment, but the convex mirror will cover a greater angle. I figure I'll get the distance judgment when I turn my head anyway.

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21 hours ago, zeke said:

I drilled holes into my helmet so I could mount a mirror and lights with zipties

Care to show a photo of how the lights were mounted onto your helmet?  Thanks.

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One downside to having a mirror that's always available is I'd be afraid to lose focus of the road in front by staring in the mirror.

When the road is narrow that's when you need to look for traffic extra careful. That's also when you need to watch out for obstacles in your narrow riding line. They could be unavoidable.

I feel safer doing quick looks behind. It works with traffic up to about 50km/h. (I'm not going that speed, but I can ride on roads with traffic at this speed, not single lane)

Better than a mirror is to create space for yourself by extending your left arm at an angle to not have a vehicle try to brush past you. (An euc needs a wider space than a bicycle, don't get boxed in). Focus on the road in front. Quick look every 10 secons in sensitive areas. Arm out. That's what I do.

The extra space is useful to have room to do smaller swerves to avoid obstacles.

If you need a mirror maybe wear one on your wrist or something?

Edited by alcatraz

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12 minutes ago, alcatraz said:

An euc needs a wider space than a bicycle, don't get boxed in).

lol what? Absolutely not. Add to the fact that we don’t have anything trailing behind us (an extra wheel) to worry about. 

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14 minutes ago, alcatraz said:

Better than a mirror is to create space for yourself by extending your left arm at an angle to not have a vehicle try to brush past you

Or you can slalom in your respective lane so people don’t try to pass you at all. 

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I attached a cheap circular convex mirror I got from an auto parts store to my left wrist guard. It’s incredibly useful and is a simple mod.

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1 hour ago, alcatraz said:

One downside to having a mirror that's always available is I'd be afraid to lose focus of the road in front by staring in the mirror.

You don’t stare in the mirror. Just like you don’t stare when you turn your head. It’s much faster to glance at the mirror that’s already in your view than to turn your whole body to look behind and have a completely new view to process.

It seems common that the ones who try a mirror quite quickly get accustomed to using it, and will miss it if it’s gone. Maybe you should try it too to see if it works for you.

1 hour ago, alcatraz said:

Better than a mirror is to create space for yourself

I don’t see how they would be exclusive in any way.

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7 minutes ago, mrelwood said:

 

It seems common that the ones who try a mirror quite quickly get accustomed to using it, and will miss it if it’s gone. Maybe you should try it too to see if it works for you.

 

You said it correctly, for me the mirror is the next important item after your safety gear, I feel vulnerable without the mirror although I could turn my head around. 

Also I've had car drivers comment on my using a mirror, they were impressed, it showed that I was conscious and aware of things around me. 

 

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I'm not saying don't do it. I'm saying be careful not to lose focus in front. Mirrors have blind spots so I'd turn my head even with a mirror.

Boils down to, do whatever works for you.

If I see a bus inching up behind me on a narrow road I'd be inclined to keep right out of fear and getting off the gas, not checking my riding line. When the right choice might have been to focus on getting past the narrow spot as quickly as possible meaning, focus on the line and keep the speed high and steady. Buses have brakes, they can give you a wide space.

An experienced rider has no problem doing this with a mirror. Just letting the newbies out there know that EUC riding requires an attention to detail several times more than car riding and at least 2-3 times more than bike riding. Be careful with dividing up that attention doing other things.

Edited by alcatraz

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2 hours ago, Darrell Wesh said:

lol what? Absolutely not. Add to the fact that we don’t have anything trailing behind us (an extra wheel) to worry about. 

Oh yes. Obstacles (rocks/pet bottles/animals/mini potholes/etc) and curbs are a lot more dangerous to euc's than to bikes.

On a bike the cost of being surprised is often no higher than a flat tire or an aching nutsack. Microadjustments allow for bikes to ride their line stabily. They are also a lot narrower at curb height and with their cranks horizontal. You can move around on bikes without screwing up the line to avoid side mirrors etc. 

While an euc is nice to slalom past traffic jammed roads they are very tricky to navigate between curbs and side mirrors at widths wider than would let a road bike through.

I'm thinking of road bikes in my examples here and narrow inmotion euc's. 

Lets say you have to move your arms and shoulders to avoid trucks/buses's side mirrors, it does put your pedals dangerously close to curbs. One touch and you'll kiss the pavement, hard.

On a road bike you just coast with the right leg at the top dead center maximizing clearance then coasting past extremely accurately ducking the mirrors.

Edited by alcatraz

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2 hours ago, Darrell Wesh said:

Or you can slalom in your respective lane so people don’t try to pass you at all. 

You'll piss people off and they'll want to punish you for being a disruption.

The heavy motorcycle driving lessons from 20 years ago remind me of some good points. 1. Show your intention. 2. No swerving or weird stuff. 3. Anticipate the worst in any situation. 4. Position yourself appropriately on the road to avoid getting boxed in. Like at intersections.

Keep an eye 100 meters ahead to plan your move early, keep your other eye close to scan for obstacles (like a hawk). Then you don't need to swerve or make sudden movements. It keeps everyone calm. A bit too calm sometimes so they think they can pass you at a 30cm margin. That's when the hand is out in time to signal safe distance.

Call me crazy. These are just my observations from riding 10kkm often in rush hour traffic in a dense city with 7 million people and where car driving skills are relatively poor. The law on the road here is whoever is bigger rules = worst case for euc riding. Luckily speeds are low.

Edited by alcatraz

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I wouldn't ride w/o my helmet mirror. It's the same as a rearview in a car, you don't stare at it, lol. Your eyes quickly dart to the mirror and back to the road in a flash I have all the info i need about the situation behind me. I cannot imagine twisting my body to look behind me all the time (meaning I am not watching the road). Forget that noise.

Also, by slightly turning your head a tiny bit, you can see everything in a wide sweep behind you, still in the time it takes to blink pretty much.

I DO turn my head to look back at cars at times, if there is a right turn that might have them turn in front of me, so I'll look back and make sure they see me.Eye contact and a friendly wave goes a long way, put drivers at ease to.

 

Edited by Hatchet

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8 minutes ago, alcatraz said:

I'm not saying don't do it. I'm saying be careful not to lose focus in front. Mirrors have blind spots so I'd turn my head even with a mirror.

Boils down to, do whatever works for you.

I think those of us who use mirrors turn our head anyway. The mirror is just there so, at a glance, you can tell whether it's even worth looking without losing sight of what's in front of you. That way, if it's obvious that somebody is in the way, you don't waste precious time turning your head away from the road in front of you.

Same thing applies when you're driving a car: after checking your mirror you turn your head for confirmation. Just because I'll turn my head anyway doesn't mean I'd prefer my car not to have mirrors. :rolleyes:

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I recently visited Australia and I remember having trouble looking back as I had to do it the "wrong way" :D

I think 30 years of riding on the right has made my neck flexible like an owl's but unfortunately only to one side. :lol:

Edited by alcatraz

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32 minutes ago, zeke said:

I think those of us who use mirrors turn our head anyway. The mirror is just there so, at a glance, you can tell whether it's even worth looking without losing sight of what's in front of you. That way, if it's obvious that somebody is in the way, you don't waste precious time turning your head away from the road in front of you.

Same thing applies when you're driving a car: after checking your mirror you turn your head for confirmation. Just because I'll turn my head anyway doesn't mean I'd prefer my car not to have mirrors. :rolleyes:

The cost of missing something minor in a car is small compared to an euc. They are also designed for hours and hours of driving at a time, and they have obstructed view in several directions, and they always drive on roads designed for them.

(following not directed at zeke but anyone interested)

While the stories posted on this forun can seem foreign and unbelievable (probably because we live in different places with different kinds of traffic and roads, I've now lived 10+years in both safer (europe) and more dangerous (china) countries, and seen both sides) I'd maintain advocating thinking out of the box when it comes to euc's. It's not a car, it's not a bike, etc. Taking a mirror from a car and the helmet from a bike might not be the top rules in the euc handbook people will be studying 100 years from now.

Again I'm not saying it's wrong. I'm just saying don't be so quick to judge the alternative as being "wrong". Do what works for you.

 

Edited by alcatraz

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7 minutes ago, alcatraz said:

The cost of missing something minor in a car is small compared to an euc.

I beg to differ.

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On 11/18/2019 at 10:34 PM, Rywokast said:

i just look behind me.. i turn my head and my whole body and i can see everything behind me while controlling the euc totally normal

Same! Although I didn't train it, I just learned it somewhere between 1000km and 3000km just by riding.
Mirror is very narrow, you have to aim it. And it requires a helmet, which I usually don't wear. Too much hassle for little gain, at least for me.

Try it, see if you like it. Mirrors are cheap, it may work for you. :) Or you may decide it's not worth it like I did.

I haven't tried wrist-mounted mirrors, so I can't comment on those.

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